Hubbub and Virgin Media O2 launch anti-e-waste digital lending program

Environmental charity Hubbub and mobile operator Virgin Media O2 have awarded five charities a £400,000 share of their Tech Lending Community Fund to support programs that reduce e-waste and provide tablets and data to people in need.

The organizations said grants ranging from £55,000 to £83,000 have been awarded to five organizations across the UK which provide crucial support to women seeking refuge from domestic violence, refugees, asylum seekers and people at risk of homelessness.

The Tech Lending Community Fund also aims to support the circular economy, Hubbub said, as it provides the opportunity to ensure tablets are reused, extend their lifespan and prevent them from ending up in landfill as as electronic waste.

“This unique community loan program has two key benefits: it allows the most vulnerable people to access essential services and stay in touch with loved ones, and it also tackles e-waste by giving tablets another life. and preventing them from ending up in landfill or incineration,” said Alex Robinson, CEO of Hubbub.

Virgin Media O2 said it had the ambition to use the Tech Lending Community Fund to connect one million digitally excluded people with free or affordable connectivity and services by 2025.

The five charities that have received grants to participate in the device loan scheme are Thames Reach, Kurdish and Middle East Women’s Organisation, Willowacre Trust, Refuge and Leeds Refugee Forum.

Together they will provide more than 1,000 tablets to people living in temporary housing and excluded from digital technology. The tablets will be powered by free O2 mobile data provided by the National Databank, which was set up by Virgin Media O2 and digital inclusion charity Good Things Foundation.

Organizations said they hope tablets and data will help people improve their digital skills and access essential services such as medical appointments, mental health support, training courses, job applications. to jobs and participate in virtual interviews.

The grant fund is also backed by Amazon, which is providing an additional £100,000 to cover the running costs of the lending centres.

The Tech Lending Community Fund builds on Hubbub and Virgin Media O2’s Community Calling program, which launched in 2020. They said that since its inception, the program has redistributed and recycled more than 10,000 donated smartphones.

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